ICA conference: You Can’t Beat the Feeling: How Arousal Generated by Emotional Exemplars Affect the Assessment of Expert Sources

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Journalists include ordinary people as exemplars in news stories to put a face on a larger societal issue or problem. These vivid personal accounts from exemplars tend to dominate the more abstract and general base-rate information and carry greater weight when people form their perceptions or attitudes on the problem at hand. Since the more abstract base-rate information is often provided or interpreted by expert sources, we explore whether vivid accounts from exemplars also affect how people perceive and assess the expert sources when both types of sources are included in a news story. Such an effect is likely to be driven by the emotional response that an exemplar evokes. In contrast with most other studies, we measure the emotional arousal directly through skin conductance, and indirectly through both open-ended and close-ended self-reports. We find that viewers of a news story on television experience increased arousal when they watch the personal account of an exemplar, and that they interpret the base-rate information in the news story in the light of the exemplar’s account. Furthermore, some respondents tend to delegitimize the expert source that contradicts the account of the exemplar. Finally, we discuss the implications for journalists.
Periode20. maj 202025. maj 2020
BegivenhedstitelICA Conference 2020, Gold Coast, Australia
PlaceringGold Coast, Australien